The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Garman
Docket No. 90345-Agenda 13-May 2001.
In June 1998, the State filed a delinquency petition against respondent, R.A.B., as a delinquent minor, alleging he committed two counts of robbery. After a stipulated bench trial, the circuit court of Du Page County adjudicated respondent a violent juvenile offender and committed him to the Department of Corrections until his twenty-first birthday. On appeal, respondent argued that he did not knowingly waive his right to a jury trial under the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 (Act) (705 ILCS 405/5-36(d) (West 1996) (now 705 ILCS 405/5-820 (West 1998)) and that, because the stipulated bench trial was tantamount to an admission, he did not knowingly waive his privilege against self-incrimination. The appellate court agreed that the respondent did not knowingly waive his right to a jury trial and reversed and remanded. 315 Ill. App. 3d 620. We granted the State's petition for leave to appeal pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 315 (177 Ill. 2d R. 315).
On June 25, 1998, the State filed a delinquency petition pursuant to section 5-3 of the Act (705 ILCS 405/5-3 (West 1996)) against the 16-year-old respondent, charging him with two counts of robbery (720 ILCS 5/18-1(a) (West 1996)). The petition alleged that respondent committed robbery when he grabbed $90 from the hand of Nicole Lenz and took the money by use of force and by threatening the imminent use of force. The State also filed motions indicating its intent to prosecute respondent as a violent juvenile offender (705 ILCS 405/5-36 (West 1996)) and under the criminal laws as an adult (705 ILCS 405/5-4(3)(a) (West 1996)). Following a transfer hearing, the circuit court denied the State's motion to prosecute respondent as an adult. Thereafter, respondent filed two motions to suppress and a motion to dismiss the State's petition seeking adjudication as a violent juvenile offender. In November 1998, the circuit court denied the respondent's motion to dismiss and set respondent's motions to suppress for hearing on December 4, 1998.
On that date, respondent withdrew the motions to suppress and the following exchange occurred regarding the stipulated bench trial:
"MS. ZAHRIEH [respondent's attorney]: We would be stipulating that if the State put on the witnesses, that the court would find the petitions proven.
MS. ORTON [Assistant State's Attorney]: Your Honor, this is essentially a stipulated bench trial.
THE COURT: Okay, what's the difference between a stipulated bench trial and actual admission to the charge?
MS. ORTON: My understanding, your Honor, is that you, that in order to pursue an appeal regarding the court's ruling on the minor's petition regarding the violent juvenile offender petition by the People, in order to pursue an appeal, that, in fact, minor need to only stipulate or go through a stipulated bench trial, rather than actually admit the petition.
THE COURT: Is that the manner in which you wish to proceed?
The State then presented the facts for the stipulation and the following exchange occurred:
"THE COURT: [Respondent], at this time this is a stipulated bench trial, in that this is the evidence if the case were to proceed forward the State would produce. It does appear to be sufficient beyond a reasonable doubt to sustain the two charges-three charges that have been filed.
THE COURT: You do, however, have the right to have a formal hearing, where the witnesses were required to appear in the courtroom, then subject them to cross-examination.
And if you proceeded this way, however, the stipulated bench trial, these are the rights you're giving up. The only other trial there will be is what the state's ...